tv Al- Qaeda CSPAN June 9, 2014 4:25am-6:01am EDT
does not look like he was commanded by them. ago, you haveays reports from germany that they disrupted a cell. none of this was commanded or let by al qaeda central. when we are talking about is al qaeda winning? let's say we wanted to know about the state of major league baseball. i would say how are the cardinals doing? the centerls, while of the baseball universe, are one of only 26 teams. that is only 26 teams if you count the astros and the blue jays, which we should probably get rid of. they were the ones leading, they called themselves the vanguard and they led the jihad he movement.
today they are one of many. they are called the old guard al qaeda. i have no doubt right now, somewhere they are planning attacks against the united states. i have no doubt that they are trying to communicate with affiliates all over the world and i'm sure they are, but the way that is perceived today versus the way that was received is wildly different. when bin laden was in charge, is wildly different. still focused on far in any attacks against the u.s.. i try to be as specific as possible because you will see when i get to the fifth part, this is what i talk about how we have to focus our strategy. a couple dozen old guard committed operatives in pakistan and afghanistan, al qaeda central.
al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, the most important element in the world at this point, they have a repeated capability and they have tried on three occasions to do next journal operations attack in the u.s. i have no doubt they are planning an attack against us right now. a are the decisive point in the future for old guard al qaeda. select members of al-shabaab who pledged loyalty and 2012 and are
still running external operations as you have seen with the attacks in kenya. al qaeda's primary arm in the future for them to move into this next generation. they are the new face or future generation of what will come out if they can keep moving on. the other two things i would worry about our old guard al qaeda operatives that you see floating around. they will try to coordinate with the islamic front. group. other .r americans joining up we sell the suicide bomber from florida last week. that i am really worried about. when i talk about al qaeda, that is the strain i am most concerned with and that is what al qaeda is.
>> mary, same question. since you just published a report and walked through the current administration's definition of al qaeda, it might be useful for the viewers to hear what the administration defines al qaeda and how you see it. >> it is quite constrained and narrow and defined by the authorization for the use of military force that was passed in september of 2001 that might explain why the senate is in the midst about dating not. according to that, al qaeda is those people who carried out 9/11. a tiny group of people, sometimes called the core or core leadership. they have their houses or residences in afghanistan or pakistan. toy're plotting and planning carry out attacks against the
united states and others. that is the definition used by this administration. we talk about affiliates, they talk about loosely aligned groups that share some of the goals of al qaeda, but not all of them. they have their own agendas, usually local agendas. visionnt to impose their of extremist sharia. that is the definition that is used by this administration. based on theirs self-definition. by looking at what is going on in the real world. ?ow does al qaeda define itself i organization, and ideology --
hierarchical organization. guys supposedly doing what the leadership wants them to do. in have the high commands afghanistan and pakistan and then you have branches that are to this highcally command. the argument they have is this organization gives orders and people down the ground attempt to obey them. but there are other things about the organization. fealty that you are supposed to obey just as the king of france had a whole lot barons and- they're supposed to obey their king. and then you have personal
connections, people who have known each other for decades. trained in afghanistan and these personal connections go into this organization. there is also this ideology that links them all together. it has three pieces. ideology, a methodology, and it has a very extremist and specific version of sharia that no one else in the world adheres to. those three things are what al qaeda uses in order to define itself. here's the thing about that. sometimes we get lucky and you have people say things like this on social media and they say things like, we are part of al aeda or you have some sort of dispute or discussion going on amongst people.
you get this kind of glimpse into some of these groups that have sworn this oath of fealty and consider themselves to be al qaeda. often, people are hiding it. somebody documents that were found after northern mali was liberated. what was found was a document describing the relationship between a local group that was somehow attached to al qaeda and al qaeda in the islamic congress. they were al qaeda the whole time. they were told don't say anything about your connections, anything having to do with al qaeda or even something jihadist . you are just here to fix things in northern mali. that is your messaging and that is the framing we want for you.
get any glimpses into the real relationships going on unless you believe things on social media. you fall back, as i have, on those last three. they share al qaeda's , and their, ideology version of sharia? , whichamic state of iraq is this breakaway group in syria that has declared its independence from al qaeda, once had a relationship with them, the argument they are having with al qaeda is about the methodology that was being used by al qaeda.
for that reason, they broke away from al qaeda. it was significant enough for is is to make this the center of their dispute. >> you have a lot to respond to. from what i read of your work, you have written extensively about the ideology and the threat that it poses to us. i sent is that you have a slightly different take. >> -- my sense is that you have a slightly different take. >> i think the ideology is nonsense. ideology is malleable. qaedaof debate between al and isis about swearing an oath of loyalty to bin laden.
i am waiting for the ideology that tells me the justification of why they can suicide bomb. i am trying to figure out the ideology that says they can do suicide bombing against isis members. it will morph to whatever the conditions are on the ground for these groups. we see this in a debate going on in pakistan. nine or 10 folks in pakistan pledged loyalty to isis. al qaeda central last week published a statement from clerics refuting why they're wrong for joining isis. it will change based on the connections on the ground and the situation and the power plays. wouldyears ago, everyone tell me the ideology is so binding, there would never be in fighting in this organization.
somalia, fractures in somalia and they became more severe once he pledged to al qaeda central. all sorts of connections with al-shabaab. bin laden was really nervous about those guys, for good reason, probably. if you read his file, they talk about it two or three times for there would be power plays about who was pledging the oath to bin laden. .hey would use that as a tool as soon as they did that, local conditions would take over and they would start fracturing. he shows up in the documents. what is going on? al qaeda really cannot control it. they do not have the control
they had under bin laden's era. when personnel and resource problems arise, oath of loyalty and ideology will shift. whatever those guys need to do to survive. communication, those letters are great because they show the communication, but when you keep sending out a message ,nd he never answers you back you do what? you are on your own. you start making your own plans. it is usually a convenient version of the ideology. what is going on in syria right now. the number one killer of others in syria are
jihadis. there are resource and personnel issues. there is a huge leadership problem right now. bin laden was great with ideology, resonated, and he had money. he had resources. he was from the gulf. who do you have now? with,lot of fun to be kind of a bad boss. very smart, strategically. .oes not command the resources these guys are going off on their own now. what happens? he cannot communicate with them on a routine basis and he starts to lose control. did, wasest thing he qaeda.ing a deputy of al why did he do that? you can watch it on hbo, just
change the name. he needed a gulf guy to keep that in mind. -- keep that in line. that was a strategic power-play. if you want to know where the strength of al qaeda's movement and their plots are, look at where -- look at the drone strikes. when i hear the ideological discussion, i get really nervous because it reminds me of where we were 12 years ago. a highly expansive ideology was used to justify action on many levels. we were pursuing what we called terrorists who had very weak or
different intent capability and commitment to striking the west. instead, we were making more threats. we were providing an impetus. we made a second generation of fighters in that conflict. that is what happened. the only thing good about this is that it has created this enormous dissension in the ranks. they all have physical relationships with each other. it was not just the ideology, they actually worked together. bin laden was stout on the second generation in iraq. -- missed out on the second generation in iraq. them andrences between the old guard guys, the targeting direction and ideology.
strainsy focused on the that are most committed to attacking the u.s. the ideology is a wild hair that we can chase all over the place and all of these groups have components of the ideology, but they are all debating internally. that as an ale on qaeda definition. respond to the idea that ideology is not fundamentally how we see al qaeda? i know it has changed over the past 12 years. it really was a way where we had a very expansive view of what the ideology is. i know you have been studying and. -- studying it. was2 years ago, ideology
dismissed by most people in the previous administration. there was a cap put on it. what the administration looked iam --were people engaged in violence? they defined the threat so broadly, it included tons of jihadist groups that were not in tune with al qaeda. very little attention paid to it 12 or 13 years ago. and changed around 2005 began to be interested in ideology. instead of saying any group that engages in violence of any sort is a danger to the united states
, they would say, which groups have an ideology that compels them to attack the united states? by looking at that, they were able to distinguish amongst groups and narrow the definition. getting back to this question of whether ideology is important, pragmatism plays a role in nearly everything that al qaeda does. they're extremely pragmatic group, especially when it comes to military matters. casters experience in cuba, you name it -- castro's experience in cuba, you name it. leadershe best military wrote his master's thesis.
what he did, we will be able to do the same thing. very pragmatic when it comes to military matters, some economic matters, and it comes to a lot of different issues. the examples you gave for all about engaging with each other and arguing over ideology. if ideology really does not matter, why would they even do that? it is one thing to say, you why even engage in this kind of public debate and make ideology the center for your argument if you don't believe it has some significance? toology was the motivation write a 700 page book called hee exoneration" in which
took on the argument of one of his mentors. he argued against his ideological interpretation in order to show people where he had gone astray. if you read through a lot of the things they say, the very first part, the middle part, and the end part, all about the justifications for what we are doing. the main difference between isis and al qaeda central is about their change in creed and methodology. in ideologicalg struggle with each other over the future of al qaeda. methodology that isis has chosen to follow -- -- when it comes to his views of fighting, or he believes you should take care not to kill innocent civilians
right up to the point of your military operations. he talked about not killing civilians, but if it was to make you give up an operation that was really worth it, he believed you should just go ahead with that and if you killed 50 innocent muslims and one american, that was perfectly fine. carrying out and invoking and anding a sectarian war spent a lot of time killing innocent shia. how many people can say they purposely set out to cause sectarian wars? that is exactly what he started to do. his vision of methodology and of creed said it is perfectly fine for us to do this.
on the other hand, he has consistently said, it is wrong to kill innocent muslims and he has put a lot of pressure on those who have sworn fealty to him to live up to that. the change behavior in places like somalia, the shabbat who carried out -- the ashgabat who carried out the horrible terrorist attack in kenya, at they figured out who is a muslim and he was not a muslim before they started randomly shooting people. they asked people a set of questions to figure out if they were muslims before they carry out their attacks. nobody had done anything like this before he put out his statement. here is the sharia justification for it, from now on, those who follow our methodology will be doing this.
he is the spokesman for isis, he original have left the ined and we are following osama bin laden's footsteps and you will not change this. for him, ideology mattered. he gave three examples of splits, arguments. let's start with the somalia one. i seem to be taking some kind of direction from al qaeda -- they seem to be taking some kind of direction from al qaeda because that note came out, a public statement about these are the things we want to do. this occurred several months after that came out. it sounds like they are doing what he had to say. all of the splits have gone away.
all of the people who are going to leave have left or will be killed. they reaffirmed their allegiance. i guess of al qaeda -- that is what he thought expressed is groups orientation. an argument that came out in those documents. even more clearly than it had in the press reporting about this. what also became clear is that something happened to settle up andecause he joined
was not made the head of the new group. he was willing to be under somebody else, a guy who was not killed.til he was he was able to swear his allegiance to al qaeda. april 30, he came forward and said i have my allegiance. syria, ices iso the breakaway group. -- isis is the breakaway group. i've been watching very carefully to see what other groups are signing up with versus those signing up and the
30 to 1.re about 20 or >> i think we will circle back to the divide shortly. but i want to come back to the pragmatism. with the death of a mountain, it has lost its central leadership. -- of osama bin laden, it has lost its central leadership. their self-funded self-starters and kind of like the generation today on twitter, they're looking to venture out.
what is the state of al qaeda today? >> al qaeda is getting killed today for the same reason we get worried about our young employees being on social media. it is fascinating to watch. they could keep some centralized control. as the internet has evolved into the social media, this two-way engagement, it has unraveled.
they are having a hard time right now. they're having a hard time right now. i will tell you to read two things that a really excellent for understanding how things are playing out not just with al qaeda but in general. the first one is jake schapiro. it is a great discussion about how ideology and others play with each other. there was a report this week talking about the decentralization of terrorism and how al qaeda is just one group in different organizations that are out there and direction in pragmatism and what we should be doing within these groups. if you want to know when al qaeda central does well, it comes down to just a few things. success versus failure. the reason they're having to compete right now to be top dog's because they have not been hitting home runs lately.
this happened back in 2005, 2002. foreign fighters right now that are motivated are going to isis. it is a winner. they are doing attacks. they are really attracted to this idea of building an islamic state. we are really excited about it. some of the pushback's is you guys have not succeeded in putting together a state. it has in us out here working on this. most recruits right now are 18 to 24 years old. how old were they on 9/11? they were young. this is something they saw and knew about. it was on their communities. what rallied them was iraq and yemen. success is not been held strictly within the whole network.
if you want to attract foreign fighters and resources, you better the doing this. it is a recent relationship. that brings us to the next thing, resources. during the bin laden area, you see people all the way up to bin laden's death going to him and asking him both for strategic guidance and would it be great if you could cough up 100 bucks so we can go through this? they're still that discussion about resource allocation. there are some interesting wings and there. greg johnson who wrote the book has a great quote in there. bin laden was a jihad he like all the others that he had one thing that was different and that he was -- he had money. when you go back to the 90's, we have this special about how al qaeda originated for eight or nine years. he was like i am the man.
bin laden has a little but of money. i am the leader. they really want a lot of al qaeda together. since the leadership, that has really been distributed. now you are looking at yo-yo resourcing. you or on your own. you and i could crowd fund a group in syria if we wanted on twitter. we can pledge money to a group. as resource control is limited for al qaeda and they cannot control it, you want to keep that going. it is very political. and we want to talk about the physical relationships. we can keep them loyal to each other. that was wrong. the power of the zarqawi regions is really what is going on
today. you see it with these militias that have risen up. it is a parallel thing that they have built. there is fascinating discussion about how they are doing something really great. i would love it if they would just go with them. there is a really unique dynamic going on there. in that legion, there are two that are critical for understanding this. the first one are the foreign fighters. we will see where this rift is. you will use this one. these are some areas of talk about here in a second. i am leaning into it.
we will jump into the and. foreign fighters from lidia and foreign fighters from yemen and saudi. they really are the ones that will decide which direction it goes. that is where you see the debate about showed been on team isis or all card al qaeda. young people are motivated. they are dumber. old guard al qaeda is staying old guard al qaeda is staying loyal and true to their values. they are screaming rich roots -- they are screening recruits to make sure they do not have moles in the system. if you cannot win over the people and you do not command the resources, this is zawahiri 's challenge. i will lay out three scenarios.
the first when you could see the two poles emerge. the one is old guard al qaeda. there are the ones they have the tightest connections with in syria. over time, all of these foreign the isisswitch over to network. you have a lot of these groups that are just waiting it out. some people interpret this as i pledge the loyalty of al qaeda. there are like 30 groups that are loyal to al qaeda. if i'm not getting money from the boss and he is not communicating with me that much and i do not really need to pick sides, what am i going to do? i'm going to wait and see which way things go. i will play the middle. i will run my own here for what ever it might be. if it is the sahara, nigeria or somalia. i will hedge the middle and not commit until i have to. we know this from elections in our own country. we will wait to see who the candidate is and then suddenly he was our choice from the
beginning. ok? that a scenario number one. scenario number two is really going on today. it is fascinating to watch. these are three scenarios. if anybody tells you they are and al qaeda expert, you should show them the door. there is way too much going on. , old guard al qaeda and a bunch of groups in syria battling it out against is. this is a sustained al qaeda internal civil war were the jihadis are just fighting with each other. it sounds great. this is the scenario in series -- in syria. jihadis fighting jihadis. a i'm strictly from counterterrorism perspective, what is not to like? it is a meat grinder. the effect over the long run is donors say i do not want to donate a bunch of money if
you're just going to kill other jihadis or get into a sectarian conflict. if you are a foreign fighter, you are going to say i am attacking my brothers. it has a corrosive effect. you see foreign fighters coming back on this is a key issue. this is the blowback we are seeing in europe. europe and north africa should be very worried. they are coming back because they are disillusioned with the conflict. it does not mean they are not committed to violence, but this has a really corrosive effect. the third one is that there is so much infighting and things are going poorly it you stick with where you can resource and work together the best and where you can communicate you best. where does that happen? regionally. you see groups like al-shabaab working with other groups in kenya. they worked together, they occasionally have contact and
still communicate with al qaeda central and isis as well. they probably swarm around. in the desert, you see them. you have aqim. young veterans are like we should choose our own group. see all three of these scenarios play out in a sequence. i do not know what the sequence will be. i would love to have all the counter tells room -- i would love to have a counterterrorism analysts put that down. it'll be fascinating to see who would be right. i think we will probably see in civil war first maybe some version of could isis become the civil leader? they kind of act dumb recently. maybe they will not. they could use the regional conglomerates, 18 months and beyond. that is where i see al qaeda going. what old guard al qaeda needs to do is start getting on top of foreign fighter recruitment again. they have to start securing resources and distributing.
they have got to make a plot to become a dominant player. the comes with two most dangerous scenarios. if i was old guard al qaeda, i was zawahiri, i would go through syria, i wouldn attack israel right now. why? it puts everybody on your side. they get everybody back. it is a common enemy. you force the u.s. to make a decision. whose team are you going to be on? are you going to go with the gulf or israel yucca choose your alliances. the most dangerous scenario is -- i'm really worried about thisafter seeing isis week. , you do a zawahiri big external operation. it draws the attention back here
. is is doing that ramp up. what are you going to do? we will have somebody shoot up something. they are dumber and they are moving quickly. old guard al qaeda is more pragmatic. >> a lot to unpack. i would like to circle back to the isis question. especially given statements from a couple weeks ago. let's look at what the state of al qaeda is. as aid out what he saw movement that is more localized and fighting for resources. in al qaeda core that has been sidelined because zawahiri's pockets are not as deep because he is afraid to kill muslims. friendly, -- frankly he is not as good-looking of a guy as bin
laden. >> i would like to begin with something i think has underlined of some of our different views of al qaeda. that is your vision of their objectives versus my vision of their objectives. al qaeda is generally defined as a terrorist group. that is how most people think of them. they carry out terrorist attacks. their main purpose is to attack america. throughout the 1990's, they put out several official ones putting out interviews by the non-media shy bin laden. talking about how he would love to kill americans. they actually attempted to do that several times. they carried out attacks in east africa and so on and so forth. in fact, al qaeda has always had a second side that was taking up the vast majority of the area. the vast majority of funding. according to the 9/11 commission
report, 99% of the funding was going to create guerrilla fighters for long-term insurgency rather than the 1% of being spent on external attacks. that is terrorist attacks. if an organization spent 99% of its money on one efforts and only 1% on the other effort, on what basis do we focus on that 1% versus the 99%? i will tell you. that 1% was aimed at us. isn't that the important thing? what is going to affect us in america? it is for americans. we do not pay attention to that other 99% or the other nasty stuff out there that al qaeda has said from the beginning was the real objective. that is to overthrow every single local leader in a muslim majority world and replace them with people who would follow their version of sharia. that is their underlying
objective. attacking america was a means towards that end. they saw america as a stumbling block. the u.s. always shows up. we are always there with funding and troops. we're always there messing up their plans for world domination. that is how bin laden talked in the 1990's. documentsme captured and afghanistan in 2002 that show this. he calls himself -- i suppose he had to say this. is is all about him. we are a government in exile for the entire muslim world. that is how he saw himself. that was in 2000, a year before 9/11. he warned them, something big is coming that will change the entire calculus out there in that we have to start considering this for what it really is. a government in exile for the
muslim majority world. from the start they had bigger , plans than simply carrying out attacks against the united states. they have not carried out attacks against the united states and as you say, they have managed to recruit more and more people to their cause, to their ideology into their methodology. the reason they have done that is through insurgency. insurgencies in iraq and for today, you mentioned the younger group, more important for them is serious. is acting as aia huge radicalizing force without the presence of the united states. this is a great falsification of a proposal put forth. that the presence of the united states radicalize is people and turns them into jihadists. you do not need the presence of the united states. is the absence of the united states that is radicalizing people in syria right now. the u.s. is not present in any
of these fights around the world. yet more and more people are being radicalized. i have to say that if you just look at what they were focusing on in the 1990's and what they are doing today. being a failure -- sorry about the changes. if i had known the difference i would have chosen it. here is al qaeda linked terrorism in 2011. a great leader, founder, charismatic guy. here is 2011 just before his death. al qaeda terrorism was occurring at a level called serious. that does not mean there were not other terrorist attacks in places like india and by 2011 that was really being wrapped up. by 2011, this is basically where 's terrorism was being
carried out by people who claimed a relationship with al qaeda. here is al qaeda terrorism in 2014. i have a big question mark on xinzhang. the chinese government says the methodology being used resonates. it looks like al qaeda to me but it is uncertain. it is certainly people being inspired by. who think al qaeda is worth emulating. i put this here as well. if you take a look from kenya all the way up to the caucuses, there is more violence being carried out than 2011. if that is failure -- that is the kind of failure any ceo .ants to see that is just the tip of the iceberg. here are al qaeda insurgencies in 2011. as you can see, i called what was going on in iraq at the time high-level but manageable
terrorism. they were no longer able to keep territory or recruit people. the people of iraq had turned against them and successfully with the surge that the united states carried out, it able to kick out most of the al qaeda terrorists, there were only three places were serious insurgencies. embedded insurgencies, mature insurgencies. somalia, afghanistan, pakistan. they had some sort of connection. here is al qaeda insurgencies in 2014. again if this is failure, this , is the kind of failure we want to see. for a guy who has no charisma. everybody always said he was the smart one. he was the planner. the guy who always had something up his sleeve and knew how to do things and was willing to think long-term.
five years into the future rather than go for the short-term gains. what we see here is al qaeda influence in country after country, al qaeda linked groups using my definition of al qaeda. those people who believe in ideology are engaged in insurgencies in about a dozen countries today. if that is failure that is the , kind of failure we all want to see. >> i kind of need to respond to this one. >> i do not know if any of you have been defense contracting community. this slide is the moneymaker right here. this is the scary al qaeda map. i've been doing these since 2004. i worked at the combating terrorism center. that is our shock and all slide. scary al qaeda map. we throw that thing out there. to muchiving zawahiri
credit for a lot of things that are not his doing. or even al qaeda. lots of these places. every article when aqim was on a boom in 2012. they created said the largest caliphate in the history of mankind. in parentheses it also said the largest pile of sand on the planet. they operate in a lot of these places. the french -- remember the country we bailed out of world war ii. they ran those guys out of mali in a week. we never saw that coming. we decide we want to do something, when we decide it is a threat, we can do it. we are circling whole countries and are laying out an assumption that this is a threat to an entire country or that al qaeda
controls an entire country. we are talking about south and central somalia and a declining ratio at that. you can read the series on al-shabaab. zawahiri's resume, if we go by this is the resume when you get it in your inbox and they are 24 years old. you have like 13 jobs. you say how did this person do this when they are only 24? we are giving them a lot of credit for things that are going on. a lot of these insurgencies are shooting themselves in the foot. they are out of control. they are violent. they are not even pursuing bin laden or zawahiri's objectives. a great example from two weeks ago, boko haram, kidnapping these women and selling them off. not something bin laden or zawahiri would recommend.
the first article i read, al qaeda linked group kidnaps and sells off women. we're giving them a lot of credit. the first thing they bring up is bin laden. gave some money to start up a training camp for boko haram. if we are upset about trafficking women, we do not need to find an al qaeda connection? mary is right the armed use of , military force is the only way we can mobilize the two things. these insurgencies are not going to be successful in a lot of cases. in some cases they are weakening al qaeda because they're going way out of the balance. isis is an example. they are weakening their popular support and the local area. eventually, this is an example from algeria. they used the strategy which was "let it rot."
they say, you want to build your caliphate? they would perimeter it up and say you go there all day long. they would wait until the businessman was start to come out, we thought this was going to be great. and then it is not that great. we are open to working for you. i never want to recommend any counterterrorism operations the algerians go with but when you talk about all these insurgencies, it is a great point they brought up. i don't think they are sitting around thinking about the u.s. they use the u.s. as a bogeyman for what ever your object is our locally. they use them to rally support with donors. i am of the opposite perspective. we do not need to get involved in all these insurgencies. we did that for the past decade, it did not go so well. we spent a lot of money. we created weak democracies that cannot function as terrorism partners. we treated safe havens in iraq , which now hosts isis.
depending on your perspective, you could say isis is of our own birth. we created that safe haven for them. we have no ability right now to counter them because of our own domestic politics. we cannot come to a way we want to fight it. i will stop there. i know it was only a counterterrorism discussion but that is my perspective. >> i do feel for it mary and having tried to map al qaeda groups in the desert and figure out whether you paint the van or villages. at the end of the day it is a , lot of territory. it is not the same as the fatah. i know that you have something to say here. i also feel that we should start bringing the definitions back into it. i think that is where you are disagreeing. that is bringing out the difference in your assessment. or mary, the long-term objectives are different. >> i do not think i disagree on long-term insurgency. i think i disagree on how they are going to happen.
>> just briefly, i firmly support you on the issue of our partners and friends fighting back and doing a terrific job. the french went into mali and within just a few weeks, they had picked out the vast majority of the al qaeda guys there. unfortunately, they almost immediately infiltrated back in. are inow, the french serious trouble and having to decide whether they should withdraw or bring in more troops. they are nearly admission failure. the same thing could be said about yemen. the yemeni government put its best effort in 2012. guyskicking the al qaeda out. they did a great job except all the al qaeda guys just melted into the mountains and desert. that is what they did in mali. technique ist think they have adopted. it is when the enemy advances. you take all of your weapons and
your people. go off to the mountains, wait till they get done with their doodads when they have gotten tired of it, you go down there and start carrying out attacks. you find a weak spot. keep attacking them until they are depleted enough that you can go ahead and push them out. that is what they are doing right now in yemen and somalia. in somalia, absolutely they only , control a few districts. they are able to carry out again attacks inside of mogadishu which they had prevented for doing so for a couple of years. once again, they have risen to the capability to carry out these attacks. i do not want to sound like debbie downer here. i think there is a solution but this is not a map of success here. this is a map of al qaeda advancing while we retreat. if i can, i would like to answer as well as the point you brought forward about the split between isis and al qaeda. i think it is a serious issue. i didn't want to downplay that.
that is a serious issue. one that, if it goes towards isis could lead to a split in the destruction of al qaeda. the biggest question i have is as a military historian will it , lead to less violence are more violence. if we are dealing with a terrorist group, it is almost certainly more violence. when groups split, they do not carry out more attacks -- they carry out more and more terrorists attacks when it comes to recruiting people to their side. with a terrorist group splitting is a very bad thing. it leads to more violence, not less. and basically decapitation. i hate to use that term. it is what most people see. and insurgency is a little more ambiguous. you can find examples on both sides. it is not by any means a given that splintering in and
insurgency will lead to less violence. it has to do with whether they turn the violence outward and compete or whether they fight against each other. the evidence we are getting right now from isis and aq is that they are both doing both. you mentioned there are cells being picked up in other countries that have their allegiance to isis. that is a bad thing. ut, there will be more violence and not less. isis are the ones who believe you have to kill randomly. as many people as possible. if you look at what they have been doing in northern nigeria, in some ways that reminds me of what zarqawi did and what isis would be doing if they were allowed to do whatever they want. if we say they are splintering up and fighting each other, that is not necessarily a good thing. beyond that i actually have a
, little teeny bit of an issue with the map as it currently is displayed. i went through meticulously each group and went looking through what their stated position is on the isis-aq split. i realize this might the based on some false assumptions. it looks to me -- just as an outsider looking at this. tell you how we are going to diverge on this. your are talking about official statements. >> let me finish and then you can criticize me. it looks to me that the burden of proof is on the group to affirm or reconfirm allegiance to al qaeda. to come out with a public statement on their relationship with al qaeda. if a group just not state a rejection of isis or allegiance
to al qaeda and they are neutral, they are assumed to be wavering. >> no, that is not how i made that assessment. >> i am going to continue on and then you can criticize me. if ordinary members use social media to support isis, they are assumed to be leaning isis. >> no. >> really? that is what i got from ansar al-sharia. >> no. >> wait. wait. let me finish and then you can criticize me in one go. it if one or two lower ranking leaders, like the two guys from aqap or the central group that nobody has heard of before but suddenly declare themselves to be the head -- they are assumed to be with isis -- the guys in green. if you turn that around and simply make the assumptions for al qaeda, this is what you would get. in fact, you would have only two
or three groups that are aligned with isis and the rest with al qaeda. which of those is true or false depends on whether people have come forward in the last few weeks, months, and have specifically stated i am with al qaeda and i reject isis, and or i reject isis. i went through each one of those groups and look for that. >> as it says up there, estimate. on the top of it, when trying to put up an estimate, it is an imperfect model, and i do not like the charts that i see from dod that go al qaeda group 1, 2, 3, 4, and we do that because powerpoint makes us do that. we get into that we are trying to make top-down charts, with stars and bubbles. when we are going through, i was just interviewing a lot of different people.
14 or 15 people that i will talk to on twitter or e-mail and say what do you think about this scenario. i do not like anything that is less than a probability of what things might be. that is why you saw me put up three scenarios. i do estimates based on circle size. just on my general feeling of what the group's size might be. the really trouble someone is a confederation of jihad eights in syria. how do you assess them? i do an estimate for the overlaps of how i think they might communicate. i came up with those estimates in terms of not official statements, because i do not care about the official statements. i care about what those supporters are talking about in the online community, who i am reaching out to in terms of experts. i will ask them their opinions because i cannot stay on top of
all these different groups. official statements will stay with the old-guard al qaeda, but i look for pushes and pulls in between. i assessment on ansar al-sharia in libya and tunisia, and how it is going in yemen is based on the foreign fighter numbers. section, partis three came out in march and it should be updated already. one group is reaffirmed and should be committed to zawahiri. this is one that mary picked out and there are six of these in there. they are different scenarios. i do not know what the breakdown is. i am trying to give you an estimate of how things might emerge. the main issue you will see in the second chart which is the foreign fighter numbers to iraq that come out of the records. tunisia, libya, yemen, saudi arabia. that is where of fault lines are, and however those two, they may go with al qaeda, or maybe isis, or on their own.
that is where the estimate comes from. >> i think the two of you can talk about this ad nauseum, but i would open up questions to the audience to give them a chance. we will have to staff members walking around with microphones, please state your name, affiliation, and please ask a question. do not make another statement, please. this man right in front, please. >> thank you very much for the discussion. my name is bill, with sio international. i have a question that perhaps n, realityam a mets fa deludes me but it seems when you , have these parallel working scary than having want to deal with. another question, what is going on in eastern europe?
is that going to change the equation with what is going on in the world with the terrorist groups? will that be another opportunity for them to open a new front? >> why don't you start with the question? >> yeah, so, let's go back. let's talk about eastern europe, because we did not get to the counterterrorism discussion. a wonderful opportunity for us to do a little art of war in the information space. the real foreign enemy for al is russia and iran. they are sticking it to us in the information space now. why don't we give a little love back to them? what if instead of just trying to directly counter old-guard al qaeda, which is not paying attention to us, they are fighting insurgencies around the world and trying to get involved. why don't we shift that, ok, guys, iran is really the one supporting the assad regime in syria. two, russia, they are the ones behind keeping the assad regime in play.
there is a lot of opportunities in that information space. the caucuses amber at -- the caucuses emirate is a real big player in syria now, interesting that you can definitely see a legion of guys from the caucasus fighting in syria. i think that will move back out. and i would not be shocked if a huge battle against the russians, whatever gets tangled up in the caucasus region. what was your first question? >> you have these hierarchies that are -- [indiscernible] >> totally agree. in the fourth part of this, i talked about the two most dangerous scenarios. i am a big fan of the competition model. i have been pushing that since 2012. if jihadi groups want to compete with each other, let's shape of the conditions so they will compete. that works great until they start pursuing external attacks in europe and the u.s. against each other trying to one up.
what keeps that going is constant resources. to dry that up and part of my counterterrorism part, part five, the number one thing we have to focus on in the counterterrorism strategy is quashing terrorist financers in syria right now or shipping what that is. if isis can sustain resources and old guard al qaeda continues to sustain resource, they will mobilize them in a way where they will pursue external operations against the u.s. it is in both of their incentives that they want to be top dogs to display that. i absolutely agree. the one thing i see about this most dangerous scenario is out-of-control violence tends to erode popular support. that is what you see with isis now. they're going into bumbling plots a little bit and rushing it, trying to hurry up and do this. so they're getting caught, and i think they will hit targets where it alienates the population. i think it is a concern, that
the europeans should be more worried than us. we have a lot to worry about, especially with foreign fighters coming back, but it is a testament to the counterterrorism community, we have gotten a lot better. but the europeans have a big problem. somewhere between 3% and 10% of foreign fighters you would expect will go back home and participate in violence. we have 10,000 fighters there right now, 5000 of them survived the battle field. we are looking at a significant number. depending -- it does not matter what team they are on. i think you are right. >> mary? >> i found myself nodding my head, and it depends on where the competition goes. right now, it looks as though it is divided between fighting each other and attempting to do things elsewhere. the thing about isis now, they seem to be incapable of carrying out major attacks inside syria much. you hear a lot about attacks
carried out by them in iraq, but hardly anything against the regime by isis. when it comes to the competition there, it looks at least and looking at it from the outside that nusra front is winning that competition. when it comes to the split, more or less violence depending whether are they splitting or not, it affects the response to it. what you do to counter it. you will get a ton of violence either way from these guys, unfortunately. >> back table. >> how to these foreign fighters get to in and out of syria? also the matériel? from what i am reading it is turkey. turkey is a nato member. how are they transiting turkey so easily? could you discuss that? >> mary, do you want to start? >> i think clint is the expert
here. >> kayak.com. i am not joking. this is basically it. they literally go buy plane tickets and make their way down to the border. they can link up some connections. there are different groups. you can be a foreign fighter from north africa or the middle east and you are more likely to have your own logistical person or one of these in libya, they can pipeline you into a certain group. the other way is you make your way into turkey. you literally ping some people on social media and say, how do i get my way down there? they get to the border and link up and say i want to be a fighter. it is remarkably unsexy. the way we think about in our minds a lot of times is the "bourne identity" type movies. like it is really complicated. and then you read the stories and say oh, they just bought a plane ticket.
it is fascinating. it is not cooler to look at. yeah, i would say there is a difference between nusra and isis. nusra tends to screen their guys they are smarter about it, , whereas isis will take anybody that shows up like a volunteer. >> i think you misunderstand my question. why aren't the turkish authorities picking these guys up? >> i cannot answer that. >> we will move on but turkey is overwhelmed with foreign fighters into syria. we have had u.s. officials talk about the fact that it has been the most we have ever seen. scores of of what we saw going into iraq. gentleman right here. >> i am an undergrad at the university of southern california, and me and my comrades are in a class with a professor now studying nuclear nonproliferation. that being the subject of our class, i would like to ask our experts, with this divide
between the two major camps of jihadist terrorists these days, what prospects of nuclear terrorism against the united states, what should be looking for? --seems if we have the scope it seems if we have two competing groups of jihadists there would be less of a nuclear threat directed towards us, and maybe more of a reason to look toward nuclear terrorism in the middle east itself. i would just like to know what you guys think about that. >> let me twist that a little and ask what the threat from chemical weapons would be, especially in syria. >> obviously that is everybody's nightmare, nuclear terrorist attack. i do not have any basis for making that sort of assessment. i am sorry about that. something we all worry about. i do not have any way of assessing it. but when it comes to chemical weapons, we do, because it was al qaeda in iraq, they used
chemical weapons, chlorine bombs, not against the americans, but against ordinary muslims. and scores of people were seriously injured, probably for life, and a few people were actually killed in those attacks. that suggests to me is just that isis, the current incarnation, would be far more likely to use chemical weapons than any of the other groups engaged. i'm very worried about that coming from isis, actually. >> yeah, i think isis would do it. the only thing that plays to our favor in the really bad scenario is the best people for executing those sorts of things are probably in yemen. aqap seems to be the group that can do those external operations and plan things out, do it smartly. they made underwear bombs. printer cartridges. they seem to have it down, like they can think through and plot out. the only thing that is to our
advantage that the stockpiles are in syria, and the best planners are in yemen, but if those things collide they could put something together like that. even then i think the range is limited. if they are going to hit a u.s. target, it has to be in the region to do it. the one thing that is competing to get it was so much is they are in a hurry, especially in isis. >> the gentleman in the middle of the room. >> i'm an intel analyst. the koran says "there shall be no compulsion in religion," and yet you will never hear those words coming out of american foreign service officer. i want to hear about counterterrorism strategy. why are we engaging on our turf instead of on of theirs? mosqueswe not at instead of foreign ministries. why isn't there a group of scholars at the state department sifting to the koran to come out
with appropriate ammunition that can turn down the fields of harvest from where these fighters are coming? >> so that is obviously a very touchy subject and one that u.s. officials have been very reluctant to engage on. this would be sort of like -- so this is what the analogy i have for what is going on -- bin laden saw himself as somebody who is going to renew the religion. and he also saw himself as a revivalist, and other words, of the religion. in addition to being a great leader of jihad. and his vision was that he, alone, amongst all humanity, understood the true version of islam and he was going to impose that version of islam on people whether they wanted it or not, and we have seen what that looks like in places like iraq and in anbar province, or northern
mali. or somalia, where it has been rejected. in any case, his vision of going back to the original islam, and he was making this up as he went along, in some ways reminds one of the reformation in europe. if bin laden is sort of like -- please, if there are lutherans in the room, do not take this amiss -- if he is luther or calvin, what role do we play? we could be the ottoman empire. that is who we are. we are the people who have had a conflictual relationship with this part of the world, and people who are not trusted and looked at a little bit askance, and we are making an argument to the pope that we can solve their luther problem. it does not compute. there is so little space for us to be doing that as outsiders coming in. to me about the biggest thing we can do -- and i hope we have
been doing -- is encouraging ulama inmuslims and the muslim majority world to stand up to these guys and to state what they think and feel. here's the thing -- it has been happening. it is just never gets repeated in the media. our media ignores all sorts of -- let me give you a great example. benghazi attack, a huge deal. does everybody know that immediately afterward there was a 100,000-person march to the streets of benghazi condemning it by the ordinary people of benghazi? by and large that was off the radar as far as our media goes. hardly anybody talked about it even. i think that that is one of our biggest problems. the only thing we can control is hopefully getting our media to pay more attention to these sorts of things out in the muslim-majority world rather than focusing on the negative side and on the people who are carrying out terrible attacks. >> i agree with what mary said. we are just terrible at it. on the ideological step, we try
to get involved with it, but i have never seen it done well. we cannot coordinate. we are a pluralistic society. we have too many opinions. we do not understand it. we are reading it from afar in translation. we do not have enough experts. we do not have credible voices. i think there has been some success in using other ideological authorities to counter from that region, helping them embracing them, but for us to do it i do not think we do it very well. >> this has to be the last question. >> university of southern california. you mentioned that since bin laden was killed the fragmentation of the jihadist world has escalated. you mentioned we cannot tell which scenario is going to play out when. my question is, because the fragmentation has escalated, how do we respond, and is that response going to be less and less viable as that fragmentation escalates?
>> watch everything, listen to what they say, and act very rarely, but whatever you choose to do, be very decisive about it. in 2006, we used to run what was the national limitation -- the modelal implementation for counterterrorism. we did hundreds of tasks very poorly and lightly across an enormous bureaucracy. it was a disaster. i remember going to meetings and it would be like a department of education, everybody wanted to fund something would float an al qaeda dude. we joke if we could capture an al qaeda guy and float into mexico we could solve problems. that is how convoluted our strategy was. we were trying to do everything and solve all the world's problems. in my opinion, with the decentralization, we need to do one thing which is five-part for intelligence capabilities, because mr. snowden was failed to prove that there has been
this gross negligence in surveillance in america, and has also coughed up to all the adversaries, including russia, and these al qaeda groups have picked out how dominant we were in the intelligence space. with this decentralization and fracturing and infighting -- so many scenarios. you could do 12 scenarios. if we are going to figure out which way it is going to go, we better have our intelligence capabilities at a peak right now to know what is going on overseas. the other thing is be very nimble in terms of what we pick and be prepared for the repercussions of each. i will give you one key decisive point. let's say we are doing drones and we do decapitation and we we get the most important person in old guard al qaeda. what is the chain of events that we couldold from that
look ask early and see a lot of the facts. because there are a lot of young folks going off on their own. we got to have capabilities. we need to plan for the most dangerous scenarios. i hope the administration is doing that right now. what are we going to do if they hit israel? what are we going to do if we get this scenario where the groups are lashing out in a lot of different directions? not overreact and overextend. be focused, pick a few tasks, do them, see what shakes out, and assess. the one thing i like is that disposition matrix discussion that came out and people thought that was the drone targeting matrix, they were confused. that was the smart folks in the counterterrorism community. forget all the politics. i do not care about that. i work too hard to be a politician. on the counterterrorism side i think there are some really smart folks in the government, intel agencies, fbi, that had been doing it for 12 years. they have figured out what's come up with a disposition matrix and how do we mitigate this risk. i think we got to support that
instead of constantly tearing that down. and enabling those people with good intelligence coverage will be critical. >> mary, if you want to respond to the question? statement concluding so we can give clint the last word. >> so first of all i actually think it is far more ambiguous whether there is this splintering going on or not, as you can tell from my side, and it is unclear which side is going to win out. what you can see is the violence has spiraled out of control. and that violence needs more than we have been doing. i would say first and foremost we need to stop the de-escalation of what is going on in our fight. this is the first time in our 26-year struggle with al qaeda that we are de-escalating what we're doing. since 2011, and i did not think it is any coincidence that the violence has part of control since 2011, we have de-escalated what we're doing. we withdrew from iraq.
we are withdrawing from afghanistan. we are cutting a lot of capabilities. we are doing all sorts of things to draw this fight down and try to pretend it is still 1995. i do not think we can pretend it is 1995. it is not going to ever be 1995 again. the second thing that we should be doing is we should be paying attention to this and not ignoring what is happening in the rest of the world. we have been very focused on -- i'm not saying we should ignore our own security and pretend we do not have a threat against us. but we cannot pretend that there violence out there has no meaning. even if you want to say these have nothing to do with al qaeda, the fact that you have gone from this to this says we have to be doing more that we cannot simply withdraw into our own country and pretend all is well with the world. the final thing is we cannot depend solely on attrition. attrition works for small
terrorist groups. you kill off the small groups, they do not replace themselves, problem solved, right? it does not work at all for insurgencies. it can exacerbate. it can be used as a point of recruitment for them. so attrition alone is not the solution, and we really need to find another solution. eiat is one of the things a and i are working on and have been working on for quite a while. we are hoping to find an answer to that. >> concluding thoughts? >> concluding thoughts? we got other fish to fry than terrorism, to be honest. we have russia, iran, and the climate change, something i'm really concerned about. if climate change is real, i do not know if it is or not, this is all really kind of silly in the big picture. we're talking about collapse in 20, 30 years, things like that. the second thing i would tell you is stop listening to al
qaeda experts. there are too many things going on. you really got to find people who are experts in regions, and i rely on them. i do. all these great folks that are out there, doing great jobs, i talk to all of them, and i cannot stay on top of all of this. if you want understand boko haram, you better have language skills. i grew up in the cold war and i was not very smart so i learned spanish. i cannot stay on top of any of this. you better have people who have been on the ground in those countries and learned things and understand the cultural dynamics. three, you got to work them together in interdisciplinary teams. there have been fantastic stuff in like mathematical modeling of attacks. you got to have that. who has that? we got to trust in our government. they have it. they are not all great, but they are better than they were 12 years ago, which brings me to we are talking about de-escalation.
i was in the army in 1995. never once did i see parallel raids in two places in africa on the same day. somali, libya, we did two raids on the same day. got one, did not get the other but we withdrew with no casualties. fire it up. we could do this 12 years ago. we were on our heels in counterterrorism. that is a testimony to the people out there working. i'm not about de-escalation. i about being surgical and nimble and not overreaching. if you really want to bring all these jihad he groups together, do a foreign intervention. we will get right back where we were six or seven years ago. it goes to your point about being able to focus, and think through what you're doing, but let's not be silly and think we are not going to have another attack from one of these groups. it is going to happen. that's do our best to mitigate it and empower the people we have brought on in the past 12 years. to think we do a raid in somalia and libya at the same time, it took a half hour. did anybody watch the video of
al-libi,ing the guy, in the streets in libya? we built some great capability. let's keep empowering them to not tear them down with our politics and debates here in the states. >> thank you, both. please join me in thanking our panelists today. [applause] i think they will be sticking around afterwards, if you want to ask questions. i certainly have some follow-ups. we will be following up on e-mail. thank you, again. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> the house and senate are back in session later today. here's a look at what they will be working on. >> the week in the senate ended on a bipartisan note with an agreement between bernie sanders and john mccain on veterans health care. we're joined by christina bellantoni, editor in chief for "rollcall." what has been the reaction so far and what potential obstacles lie ahead in the senate and the house? blessing, hecain's is a decorated war veteran and has respect not just on capitol hill but within the veterans community. his blessing on this legislation clear pathfairly going forward. there is not any smooth, 100%
this is going to go to president obama's desk. the house would like to see chairman jeff miller, from florida, his legislation. and take a look at some serious investigations as to what has happened. that can slow down anything making it to the president. the house is saying they would like to see some sort of allowance for veterans to get private health care while they are waiting for care. those areas could mean these bills are sustained. in the senate this is looking good and you are seeing democrats and republicans in agreement. >> the senate might also take up student loan debt. they announced a measure, democrats plan student loan push is in june. what are they proposing? thehis is a way to lower interest rates on student loans. you have to look at everything, isecially that the senate doing, as an election year push.
the election puts a filter out all of it. democrats found that the student loan push was successful in 2006 when they took control of the house and senate. they have done it repeatedly. it really resonates not just with young people but with families that are feeling squeezed because of higher costs of living and higher college expenses. it gets a lot of attention but i would not expect this to clear anything in the house anytime soon. it is an election year move. they announcing that, seemed to lay down the gauntlet to challenge republicans to support the bill but nobody on the republican side is backing it? >> right. >> level to the house, eric cantor releasing his memo calling on members telling them what is ahead for june. what are some of the top items we should look for as the house comes back? >> the veterans legislation we discussed is something the house puts a priority on. they have been home for two weeks and they are here for
three weeks. they can show constituents, who have seen negative headlines across the country, to say we really care about this. they have three big spending bills they will book out. and then figuring out how they are going to deal with the highway trust fund, essentially being able to pay for it they will have to cut something else. the proposal is to slash saturday postal delivery, that is something we're going to see. eric cantor, what was not in the memo was more interesting. immigration reform legislation. a huge push, not just from democrats, you have seen republicans say we should take a look at this. diaz-balartio saying something is on track for summer, that is not looking promising. in addition, the unemployment insurance extension that passed the senate on a bipartisan measure. the house leaders have said they do not really care about that.
and then the export-import debate. >> we are hearing more about the release of sergeant bowe bergdahl. the house armed services committee holding a hearing on that. the headline on that. what are they hoping to do at this hearing next week? thorny issue. looking at this politically, how republicans have been able to capture foreign policy as their issue as the health-care legislation, the president's signature domestic achievement, the affordable care act has been doing better in recent months. you have seen this focus with the select committee on benghazi . now there is bowe bergdahl. andtors were frustrated told reporters they left a private briefing on the hill earlier this week, they do not feel like the administration was being forthcoming. a republican from illinois made very clear -- he asked if bowe bergdahl and was told we will
get back to you. with the president out-of-town doing the d-day celebration in normandy, he is coming back to washington for the coming weeks. you will see more focus on this and i expect a lot more criticism from republicans not happy. , readistina bellantoni more at rollcall.com and follow her on twitter. thank you for being with us. with georgea" miller. live at 7:00 a.m., your calls and comments on "washington journal." today, the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee will hold a hearing on u.s. border security. officials from u.s. customs and border protection, the u.s. office of special counsel, and the national border patrol council -- the labor union that represents border control agents -- will testify.
live at 3:30 p.m. eastern on c-span3. new book "sundays at eight" includes gretchen mortenson. >> what role does the government play in housing finance? if you want to talk about housing and we want to talk about it and the populace agrees it is something we should subsidize, put it on the balance sheet and make it clear. how iterybody aware of is costing. when you deliver it through these third-party enterprises, fannie mae and freddie mac, when you deliver subsidies through a public company with private shareholders and executives who can extract a lot of that stuff that is notselves, a very good way of subsidizing homeownership. read more of our conversation with other featured interviews from our footnotes and "q&a" at eight," "sundays
now available as a father's day this week on "q&a," our guest is representative george miller. he's retiring at the end of this term after 40 years in the u.s. house. >> when did you first think of stepping down from congress, after 20 terms? >> probably eight or nine months ago. when it was first really brought to my attention that i had been here 40 years, i had never thought of it in those terms. i had approached this job where every day is a new opportunity, and yesterday was yesterday and today is a new day. i never thought of in the idea of how long i had been. that started me thinking, and my
sons started thinking about, why don't you come home? we started having a family conversation. >> where is the district? >> the east side of san francisco bay, and to the interior of california. it used to go quite a ways into the interior. >> you have been chairman of a couple committees. what are those? >> chairman of the natural resources committee in the house, house education and labor committee, and a subcommittee on children, youth and families a number of years ago the tip o'neill created. >> go back to the days your father was in politics. what was he like? >> he was a big voice in california politics. he was one of the founders of the california democratic committee, the left wing of the democratic party, and very